I did well, right?

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Life teaches that performance earns reward, generally. We get report cards in elementary school that measure our accomplishments with a grade. Sometimes we confuse our grade with our personal worth, but that’s another subject. Unless we have been duped by entitlement that insists “you owe me,” we understand that if we want that promotion, we have to show up on time, do the work, and show initiative. Reward follows diligence. That’s how life works.  Except when it comes to God’s salvation. That we cannot earn!

Disciple, if we get stuck in a performance mode, attempting to earn God’s favor, we will find ourselves locked into a cycle that demands more and more of us.  Millions are working to gain some measure of peace with God and feeling only guilt. Millions are trying to be the kind of person they know they ought to be- self-disciplined, determined, and still falling far short of the goal.

Abraham heard God’s promise and believed it!  Genesis says this – Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6, NIV)  The gift of being accepted and beloved came by faith.  Paul points to that when he explains faith that saves us. “Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.” (Romans 4:13-16, NLT)

The Gospel of Jesus is often mixed with religion because it is just ‘common sense.’  Except that it is not!  Whatever we learned from life about performance and reward goes out the window when it comes to being right with God. He seeks to save us, not because we are worthy or because we did anything to attract His attention. Because of loving grace, He goes to find us and bring us home! Our only part is to surrender to His embrace.

What of holy living? Can we just ‘sin and grin?’ Of course not, because true grace is deeply transformative. What we truly believe and how we act are inextricably interwoven. Sinners who had dinner with Jesus were changed from the inside out. So, too, we are transformed by grace. When we experience the incredible, scandalous love of God, it causes us to change course, with a new vision drawing us higher. If we respond to God’s invitation with faith, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us. “When you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (Ephesians 1:13-14, NLT)

Are you feeling distance from God, desperately trying to do something to earn His gift? Renew your faith; not in yourself, not in a religious system, but in the Person of Christ Jesus. Receive His grace anew!

Here is a word from the Word. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT)

Believe God, and He will mark the debt that our sin has created – Paid in full! (At His expense.)

_______________

Mighty To Save
(Let the greatness of God draw you to worship as you listen)

Ev’ryone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Ev’ryone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

Saviour He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Ev’rything I believe in
Now I surrender

Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King
Jesus
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King

Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan
© 2006 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055

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